Danish Royal Watchers

Saturday 26 May 2007

Celebrating two birthdays

Everyone needs good sea legs in this family!

Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Prince Mary with the little Princess in a carrycot and Prince Christian board the boat which will take them out to the Royal ship Dannebrog at Langelinie in Copenhagen to have lunch with Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik. The Royal family celebrates the 39th birthday of Crown Prince Frederik and the 75th birthday of the Royal Yacht Dannebrog today.

Politiken (in Danish) 'Kronprinsen og kongeskibet fejrer fødselsdag' - Crown Prince and royal yacht celebrate a birthday

TV2 video clip (0:45)

DR1 video clip (2:20)

Added: see Søren Steffen's photos here.

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More on the Dannebrog's 75th

It has been raining in Copenhagen today...

* See the B.T. photo gallery of Frederik, Mary, Christian and Lillepigen boarding the barge to go out to the Dannebrog
* TV2 photo gallery

The Dannebrog was built in 1932 and was launched by Queen Alexandrine, wife of king Christian X. The Dannebrog is associated with the annual summer visits of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik to provincial port cities and has travelled more than 300,000 nautical miles during its long lifetime. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik have taken a personal interest in the maintenance and fitting out of the vessel and in the choice of furnishings. But most would agree that the man who loved the Dannebrog more than anyone else was King Frederik IX, Queen Margrethe’s father.

Crown Prince Frederik, as Frederik IX then was, sailed to Stockholm on board the Dannebrog in 1934 for his wedding to Swedish Princess Ingrid, The Dannebrog was therefore associated with one of the happiest moments in his life. Frederik IX had a morning ritual of being hosed down on the wash deck with ice cold water, including when in Greenland's waters. The ship escaped seizure by the Germans during the World War II Nazi occupation of Denmark.

The Dannebrog operates as a royal yacht in peacetime and equipped to function as a hospital, surveillance and sea rescue vessel during emergencies or war situations. The crew accommodation, cargo and engine are located at the bow end of the ship in front of the funnel while the rear houses the royal apartments comprising study, dining salon, lounge and bedrooms. Some of the furnishings from the previous royal vessel dating from 1879 is still in use. During visits to Danish and foreign ports, the Dannebrog’s quarterdeck has an awning installed and which is used for onboard receptions.

The Dannebrog is an independent command administered by the Chief of the Queen’s Naval Household, a member of the royal household. The crew consists of nine officers, seven sergeants and 36 enlisted able-seamen, handpicked from the navy. Officers are normally seconded for 2-4 year periods, whereas able-seamen serve for just one summer. The last major overhaul that the Dannebrog underwent was in the early 1980s when new B&W Alpha Diesel and Scania auxiliary engines were installed to extend the life of the yacht into the 21st century. Still going strong, the 78 metre-long, 1,238 tonne Dannebrog, which can muster a speed of 13.5 knots with a cruising radius of 3,600 nautical miles, steams on supremely as unchallenged barque of the kingdom - one of Europe’s last surviving royal yachts! (information from The Copenhagen Post)

The first Dannebrog was a paddle steamer launched in 1880 when Christian IX was king (the so-called Father-in-Law of Europe). In November 1905 it carried Danish Prince Carl to Norway, then a newly independent nation after the dissolution of its nearly 100-year union with Sweden. Prince Carl of Denmark was chosen as the new King of Norway, the future King Haakon VII.

Billed Bladet (no.12, 23 March 2007) reported on a documentary shown on DR1 last Easter in anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the Dannebrog. Christian was eight months old when he made his first major voyage on the Dannebrog for last year's summer visit to Bornholm by his parents. This was when Christian appeared on deck on arrival at Rønne. The maker of the program Marcus Mandal said later on the day of arrival: “The Crown Prince is incredibly fond of his little son. That was very obvious when Frederik grabbed a bouquet of flowers to play a peek-a-boo game with him.” In an interview Frederik also relates his memories from sailing on the Dannebrog when he and Joachim were children. Among other things, they took part in the morning muster, dressed in the same white uniforms as the conscripts and got hosed when the deck was hosed. Frederik also tells the story of “Tang Rasmus" (Seaweed Rasmus), a monster which the steward told him roamed around in a narrow provisions room.
The interview with Queen Margrethe was made when the Regent Couple was in Athens with Dannebrog last year for a state visit (2006), and as well as the conversations with the royal family and the pictures of little Prince Christian, the viewers also get a rare glimpse into the private chambers on board and of a huge carpet sea map of Øresund in one of the corridors. Besides being the floating summer palace of the royal family, Dannebrog is also a workplace for 35 new conscripts who go through their training on board. The hands live somewhat more humbly than the royals. When the conditions are rough (as they often are in Greenland, the conscripts sleep in the royal dining salon located at midships, where it doesn’t rock as much as in their usual quarters. (by Anna Johannesen)

DR1 press release about the Marcus Mandel program (in Danish)

The DR1 documentary På togt med kongeskibet (59:00)
There are some great clips and insights into the royal family in this program. We see King Christian tripping a little as he and Queen Alexandrine board, we see lots of scenes of King Frederik frollicking with Margrethe, Benedikte and Anne-Marie, Frederik IX being hosed (a lot!), Frederik IX skipping for exercise, Queen Ingrid too, Queen Ingrid crocheting in a deck chair, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik onboard, their studies (each has a photo of the other on their desks), Mary being baptised as she crossed the Arctic Circle for the first time on the way to Greenland in 2005, Frederik and Joachim as children onboard, Christian on the way to Bornholm...

1) King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine 2) Queen Ingrid (then Crown Princess) waving farewell to her countrymen in Stockholm as she sails to Denmark on the Dannebrog after her wedding 3) King Frederik IX being hosed down on deck 4) King Frederik skipping 5) Queen Ingrid with her own fancy moves with a skipping rope 6) Frederik and Joachim "doing duty" as children on the Dannebrog 7) at eight months old Christian hangs out with a young seaman on the way to Bornholm 8) Frederik on the bridge, normally he takes the wheel on the Dannebrog but the captain said he spent his time with Christian for his first voyage on the beloved ship

More on the Dannebrog from a series made in 2002 by DR1 with the Queen - she has great sea legs! It is in Danish but shows how much the Queen loves the royal yacht and seems to have many a story to tell.

DR1 video program (30:00)
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Royal photographer Klaus Møller gives a look inside the Dannebrog and shows many of the personal touches of the Queen's paintings and embroidery on cushions, the portrait of the man in uniform is the current captain of the Dannebrog:

Many thanks to Muhler and ambiDK for translations and information.

And special thanks to Klaus Møller for photography inside the royal apartments on the Dannebrog and of life onboard, including the Regent Couple.

See the Royal Danish Naval Museum and the links to Danish history and the navy from the 16th century to the present

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog from the Danish Monarchy website
Christian X from the Danish Monarchy website
Frederik IX from the Danish Monarch website

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